[Atlanta, GA – May 16, 2022] In the runup to Home Depot’s May 19 shareholder meeting, the advocacy group Friends of the Chocó has launched a campaign to highlight the company’s practice of carrying Sandeply plywood, a Home Depot exclusive made by Ecuadorian manufacturer Endesa-Botrosa, which is deforesting primary tropical rainforests in western Ecuador’s Chocó region. Just 3% of western Ecuador’s original forest remains intact.
In addition, the campaign also includes a new film. Thereby documenting the devastating impacts of Endesa-Botrosa’s old-growth logging operations. For that’s extracting plywood-veneer wood in the Chocó. Also a full-page ad in yesterday’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution, mobile billboards in and around Home Depot’s Atlanta headquarters that read “Learn how The Home Depot is destroying the rainforest”. Finally and a detailed report about the impacts of Sandeply on the Chocó to Home Depot corporate leaders, board members, and investors. The film and other documents can be viewed on www.homedepot-deforestation.
Unsustainable Plywood Harms the Planet
“Destroying the rainforest to make plywood is like burning the Mona Lisa to cook your lunch,” says Friends of the Chocó founder Brian Rodgers in the opening sequence of the film. Rodgers first discovered the Chocó rainforest was being logged to make veneer plywood for Home Depot on a birding trip in 2018. He immediately alerted Home Depot to the problem and has since documented ongoing deforestation there. Home Depot continues to carry Sandeply.
“By selling Sandeply, Home Depot’s sourcing practice drives deforestation of one of the world’s most biodiverse rainforests, generating carbon emissions, decimating endangered wildlife habitat, and destroying the Indigenous Chachi community’s forest home,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution ad says. “Rodgers brought this to the attention of Home Depot’s CEO Craig Menear and VP of Sustainability Ron Jarvis four years ago. Since then, apparently nothing has changed. The deforestation is still underway, and you’ll still find Sandeply on Home Depot’s shelves.”
“Knowingly allowing deforestation into Home Depot’s supply chain isn’t just wrong or contrary to the goals of its sustainable sourcing policies; it’s strategic malpractice,” says the Friends of the Chocó report to Home Depot’s leaders. “Sourc[ing] Sandeply from Endesa-Botrosa…puts the company at high reputational and compliance risk. It also puts it at a competitive disadvantage. That’s because Lowe’s sourcing policies are more comprehensive and rule out deforesting areas like the Chocó. Home Depot’s policies do not.”
Home Depot Call to Action
The report urges Home Depot to stop carrying Sandeply. It also calls to end its supply relationship with Endesa-Botrosa, and/or find sustainable 100% plantation-grown alternatives. In addition, it also calls on Home Depot to improve its sustainability policies and supply chain management. The goal is for Home Depot to no longer carry products that destroy tropical rainforests.